Thursday, May 24, 2012

Where the Rebellion Went Too Far

 Where I first fell in love with unreality. I believe I was sitting in my room—back against my closet—toes digging into my rug—book in hand. My eyes feasted on the unreality hidden among those pages. It was a fantasy world all my own. A dark yet starry night. Mountains and valleys. A waterfall crashing to the depths below. Look closely; see those blinking lights? They are no fire-flies—they are tiny fairies. Luminous creatures, sparkling in the night. The most majestic is the unicorn. You can see her standing guard over her young filly. Gleaming white mane; and her horn—elegantly rising from her forehead. Purity. Beauty. Magic. Just one glimpse of her takes my breath away. I sit down on the grass and close my eyes. I hear the mumblings of little brownies as they head off to work. The screech of an owl—or perhaps it is the phoenix preparing for a nights rest. The air is warm and smells of fresh life. (November 4, 2010)

            But see unreality and fantasy can become dangerous. Do you ever think about fantasy worlds? I do—a lot. Because I realize that I escape from reality more often than I would like to admit.
            Maybe you should think about fantasy worlds more often—because I’m willing to guess that you have been in one before.
            Perhaps some examples will help you see more clearly. . .
In a fantasy world you can eat an entire carton of ice cream late at night and no one will notice.
In a fantasy world your husband never lusts after other women.
In a fantasy world friends never hurt friends.
In a fantasy world there is no such thing as abuse.
In a fantasy world your wife is always delighted to cook dinner for you.
In a fantasy world all Christians live by Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
In a fantasy world the books of Ecclesiastes and Lamentations are not part of the Bible.
In a fantasy world sin can be justified.
In a fantasy world God does not harden people’s hearts.
In a fantasy world God works everything out for your personal “good.”
In a fantasy world darkness is safer than the light.
In a fantasy world you’ve never gossiped about that “Isn’t she the pregnant one?” over there.
In a fantasy world love takes away all problems.
In a fantasy world your daughter will never be diagnosed with an eating disorder.
In a fantasy world your son will never be charged with murder.
In a fantasy world you can experience perfection of your own doing.
In a fantasy world no one loves his or her own sin.
In a fantasy world you can keep the disgusting side of yourself a secret.
In a fantasy world “just one drink won’t hurt.”
In a fantasy world you can disassociate from yourself.
In a fantasy world spiritual warfare doesn’t take place in the room with you.
In a fantasy world your sin will never find you out.
In a fantasy world everyone knows what grace and forgiveness are.
In a fantasy world underweight is beautiful.
In a fantasy world knowledge equals wisdom.
In a fantasy world you can earn your way back to God.
In a fantasy world your parents never fail you.
In a fantasy world people always forgive you.
            So what do you think? Real life is hard. Real life is not pretty. Real life is Jesus of Nazareth being cursed to hang on a tree. But real life is Jesus Christ—our Messiah—dying for our sins, and then three days later defeating sin and death.
            Yes, we will suffer in this world—we are suffering NOW—but our hope is in the redemption of our Messiah.
To be sure, reality does not look as beautiful as this picture—but please listen to this:
Reality is worth living; live it in HOPE.
May 5, 2012

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Ephesians 4:32

I thought we had friendship
a mutual love.
But now you shout, “Betrayal!”
and that you feel too much pain.
You act as if forgiveness
is too hard; that there will be no healing.

What about healing
within me? Does not friendship
see through one another’s eyes? Forgiveness
is the path of love.
Can you not see my pain?
And how I too sense betrayal?

I do not say, “Deny the betrayal,”
but why resist healing?
Is it the fear of feeling pain?
I appeal to our friendship
and the love
we once had. My hope is forgiveness—

for the type of forgiveness
that Christ gave after his own betrayal.
Can you imagine his capacity for love?
He can bring healing
for the two of us, restoration of friendship,
and slow removal of the pain.

I tell you, “Feel the pain,”
for it is real. But forgiveness
is possible in the grace of friendship.
Acknowledge the betrayal
if you must, but then pursue healing
through the power of love.

I beg you to hear this, “I love
you.” Forgive me for the pain
I’ve caused. May God bring healing.
I beg for your forgiveness
of my betrayal,
and make one last plea for our friendship.

There is healing in the love
of Christ. Friendship will always incur pain—
it is a hard reality that demands forgiveness of betrayal.